Farmington River, Farmington, Connecticut
by James McDougal Hart
The Civil War brought change to American aesthetics, and demand for art of a different style – perhaps to help heal the traumas of the war with paintings of homey scenes. Calm landscapes replaced the sometimes dramatic Hudson River style. With the war over and rail travel available, the influx of artists began. Wealth resulting from an economic boom helped things along. In Farmington, the first postwar artists known to us are the Harts: Scottish James McDougal Hart (1828–1901) and his wife, Marie Theresa Gorsuch (1829–1921). Gorsuch was a pupil of Brevoort, and the Farmington Magazine commented that “Miss Gorsuch’s paintings were quite equal to her master’s.” This artist couple probably met in Farmington in 1865, and their 1866 wedding was a gay event for the little art colony. Hart’s brother William and their three children were also artists.